James Gunn Unveils New DC Studios Slate, New Direction For The Comic Book Franchise

Superman
Image via DC Comics

DC Studios have announced the first portion of their ambitious eight to ten year plan for the beleaguered DC Comics film adaption franchise. The unveiled slate of film and TV titles includes projects to highlight some of the biggest names in the franchise like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman while also digging into the comics publisher vast catalog of characters to highlight some of the lesser known ones.

Calling this first cycle of film and television series “Chapter 1: God and Monsters,” DC Studios head honchos James Gunn and Peter Safran held a press conference yesterday at the Warner Brothers lot where they revealed ten projects that will serve as a foundation for what they hope will be a nearly decade’s-long interconnected story.

To break down the announced projects –

  • Superman: Legacy – This is the Superman film that Gunn had stated he was already writing back in October when he and Safran first took on the job to head up DC Studios. This is the film that will kick-off the overall new direction of the franchise into high gear. Nothing more is known about the project except that Henry Cavill will not be returning to play Superman and that the film is scheduled for a July 11, 2025 release.
  • The Brave and the Bold – Taking its name from a long-standing DC Comics team-up book, this film will feature Batman fighting crime in Gotham City with his son Damien – whose mother is the daughter of the head of the League of Assassins. The film will reportedly take inspiration from writer Grant Morrison’s run on Batman from the 2010s.
  • Paradise Lost – An HBO Max series that looks at palace intrigue on Wonder Woman’s home island of Themyscira. It is stated that the series will take place before the Wonder Woman films, so probably there will be no Gal Gadot.
  • Lanterns – A television series which will concentrate on the Earth-based members of the Green Lantern Corps, an interstellar police force. This will be a new take on the characters, with the previous version of the project that had been in development with producer Greg Berlanti for several years being scraped. “Our vision for this is very much in the vein of True Detective,” Safran stated, pointing out that the series will become a cornerstone of the franchise’s larger story arc. “This plays a really big role in leading into the main story we are telling across film and TV.”
  • The Authority – Another superteam in the DC pantheon, but one known for not being as clearly heroically virtuous as those on the Justice League.
  • Booster Gold – Another HBO Max series, this one centering on a time traveler from the 30th century who comes back to our era in order to find fame and fortune as a superhero. The character was introduced in the comics in 1986 and has been a fan favorite ever since, often connected to various incarnations of the Justice League.
  • Creature Commandos – A seven-part animated series featuring an update of the group that was formed out of monsters to fight Nazis in World War Two. No voice cast has been set yet.
  • Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow – A somewhat grittier take on the Maid of Might, Superman’s cousin, Supergirl, using the justification that her origin had her growing up on a chunk of the planet Krypton that remained intact when the planet was destroyed and then having to watch some of the other survivors with her die off.
  • Swamp Thing – The closeout film of this first chapter, it will feature the more horror-tinged character.
  • Waller – In the only holdover known so far from the prvious DC films, Viola Davis will return as black ops spymaster Amanda Waller, head of secret goverment Task Force X, aka the Suicide Squad. This spinoff of Gunn’s recent Peacemaker HBO Max series is being written by Christal Henry (HBO’s Watchmen) and Jeremy Carver, the creator of the recently cancelled Doom Patrol TV series.
Creature Commandos
Image via DC Studios/Warner Brothers

Additionally, there will still be a few DC film and TV projects that will exist outside of the main continuity that Gunn and Safran are establishing. These include the sequel to Matt Reeves’s The Batman with Robert Pattison (now scheduled for a October 3, 2025 release), Todd Phillips’s sequel to the runaway hit Joker, the popular animated series Teen Titans Go as well as the Black Superman project, being written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. All of these films, and presumably others that stand off on their own, will be released on the banner DC Elseworlds.

But the interconnectedness of a majority of the film and television projects is something Gunn stressed in the press conference held yesterday for select journalists on the Warners lot. The Hollywood Reporter states that executives are working to find voice actors for the animated projects who can also play the characters in live action.

“We don’t want the series to feel in any way like step-children or lesser than,” Gunn explained. “It’s just another way to tell a story.”

Still, the question remains as to how much of this slate is a complete reset and how much is just a continuation of what has come before. Much of it feels like the slate has been wiped clean, but the series Waller and that Paradise Lost is being described as taking place before the two Wonder Woman films we already have suggest that some things will remain in the franchise’s continuity.

Avatar für Rich Drees
About Rich Drees 7180 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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